With the opening of Tropical Smoothie Café on 15 Dixwell Ave., landlord Yale University Properties has begun the process of developing their holdings in the Dixwell neighborhood.
Tropical Smoothie Café, a national chain serving pureed fruit drinks and fresh foods, opened its doors Aug. 31 behind the Payne Whitney Gym on the ground floor of a five-story apartment building. Manager Zarko Stojanovski said Yale approached the chain last year in an effort to add health-focused restaurants to its mix of tenants. Dixwell Avenue, which runs in front of the café, does not have as much foot traffic as the Broadway shopping district, Stojanovski said. But, he anticipates more visitors to his store once UP adds more retailers to its Dixwell holdings.
“I don’t know what UP’s vision is,” Stojanovski said. “But, we are pioneering here on Dixwell, we are the first of the building’s tenants.”
UP announced in a June 2014 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting that it would be adding an additional restaurant next to Tropical Smoothie Café, but the new tenant has not yet been announced. University Properties did not respond to a request for comment.
As UP develops on Dixwell, Dixwell area Alder Jeanette Morrison said she hopes to communicate with UP more regularly.
Last year, UP representatives reached out to Morrison and told her that they would be opening affordable, healthy restaurants in their Dixwell properties, Morrison said. But, she added, they did not follow up with her, even after selecting a tenant. Morrison said she could have helped promote the business through Dixwell Management Team meetings as well as her email newsletter.
“[Communication] could be a benefit to the businesses themselves because of more customers,” Morrison said. “It could be a benefit to the community to getting people to work there. It would be a benefit to Yale University in regard to being a good neighbor.”
Still, Morrison said she is glad UP reached out to her last year, and she hopes to soon initiate a conversation with UP about how she can help Dixwell residents and Tropical Smoothie Café build relationships through employment and patronage.
Stojanovski said that thus far, roughly half of the visitors of the café are Dixwell residents, while the other half are Yale students, many of whom are athletes.
Sandy Wongwaiwate ’17, a member of the Yale women’s golf team, said she visited the store and was pleased with its product line, particularly the range of healthy choices. She said she only wished that the store offered more size options.
“The only downside would be the smoothie sizes are a little big,” Wongwaiwate said. “If they had an option for a smaller size that would definitely draw customers back to the shop more.”
Other changes to the UP’s Dixwell holdings include relocating the UPS store across the street to 33 Dixwell Ave. The UPS store’s current location will be transformed into a parking lot, which will help accommodate the influx of visitors to the area after UP completes its retail spaces and graduate dorms on the Elm Street lot next to Tyco.
UPS employee John Ramono said managers have told him UPS will move in October.